Your kids no doubt love sweets, as most kids do. While the occasional sugary snack is probably no big deal, treats with a high sugar content are not good for teeth and may cause dental problems for your child. Keeping your child's teeth healthy involves proper nutrition, which ensures adequate intake of nutrients that promote strong teeth. Learn more about healthy snack ideas for kids in the Colgate Oral Care resources. Include items that are low in sugar but high in calcium – the most vital nutrient to foster healthy teeth now and in the future.
Cheese is a great snack as it is high in calcium while containing no added sugar. Given the wide range of dairy products on offer, you should be able to find a cheesy snack for your child to enjoy. String cheese is a good option for lunch boxes and snacks on the go. Sliced cheese makes a great topping for crackers, and shredded cheese melts well on a tortilla for a more substantial snack.
Cheese has the added advantage of neutralising acid on your child's teeth, helping to prevent cavities. Learn more about the benefits of snacking on cheese in the Colgate Oral Care Resources. Children need between two and three cups of dairy each day. In general, one slice or 38 grams of cheese is equal to one cup of dairy. When possible, choose low-fat versions to keep your child's calorie and saturated fat intake under control.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are also a great healthy snack idea for kids, with many dark-green, leafy vegetables containing calcium. Serve fresh fruit with low-sugar yogurt to increase the snack's calcium content. Raw vegetables can be enjoyed on their own or with a dip your child likes.
Avoid sugary foods like sweets, fizzy drinks and processed desserts. Not only do these items contain little to no calcium (or other essential nutrients for that matter), but their high sugar content also means the sugar sits on your child's teeth, fostering an environment that leads to cavities.
Regardless of diet, have your child brush his teeth twice a day for about two minutes at a time. In addition, help him floss between his teeth each day. If you decide to use mouthwash, choose an alcohol-free variety specifically made for children. And don't be afraid to talk about how food choices play a role in the health of his teeth now and as he gets older.